Largest existing building on homeless navigation center property not included in initial designs
The largest of three existing buildings on property the city purchased for a homeless services center will be left out of initial designs due to several factors.

Largest existing building on homeless navigation center property not included in initial designs

City officials say Building C was originally supposed to be a residential facility, but design requirements laid out in grant funding rules say residential facilities must have features the building currently doesn't have.

Kendall Balchan image

Kendall Balchan

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July 12, 2022

The biggest existing building on the site of the future homeless navigation center the city purchased in northern Palm Springs is currently not included in the design and renovation plans for the future center.

Driving the news: The 3.6-acre site on McCarthy Road already has three buildings totaling 46,000 square feet of usable space. Two of those buildings will be retrofitted into 80 housing units and spaces for education and job training.

  • The city recently awarded a Los Angeles firm a contract worth roughly $860,000 to help design the project and guide it during an anticipated 52-week process. 
  • But the most prominent building, 25,000-square-foot “Building C,” was excluded from those plans.

Zoom in: City officials say Building C was originally supposed to be a residential facility, but design requirements laid out in the grant funding rules say residential facilities must have windows and bathrooms.

  • If the designers were to install windows and bathrooms, it would reduce the number of potential units and increase the cost, which would have meant the city’s application for funds may not have been competitive. 

The funding was given only to projects that create housing “rapidly,” or within 12 months, city officials explained Tuesday.

What they’re saying: “Given the short deadline to complete project approved for the HomeKey2 funds, the focus will be on installation of the modular units and renovating Buildings A and B” — Jay Virata, Palm Springs community & economic development director

Background: In January Palm Springs and Riverside County jointly submitted an application to the state to request funding for the construction of the Navigation Center, and reimbursement of the land acquisition. 

  • Last month, the City Council unanimously approved an $860,000 contract with John Freidman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK) to provide architectural and design services for the project.

Looking ahead: Virata says Building C could still be used as a residential facility sometime in the future, but the funds from the state are not allowed to be used to plan, design, construct, or operate Building C.

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